By Nick Hession,
Sports Business Writer
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s ability to perform was brought into question this offseason when their most well-known player, Kevin Durant, went to the Golden State Warriors this past July. All of those questions have since been answered, as the Thunder are currently leading the Northwest Division at 14-9, according to NBA.com. The team’s starting point guard, Russell Westbrook, is on his way to breaking records, as he has been a major contributor to the Thunder’s success.
In the Thunder’s 99-102 loss to the Houston Rockets on December 9th, Westbrook scored his seventh triple-double in a row and his 12th of the season, according to YahooSports.com. A triple-double is when a player has more than ten points, assists, rebounds, blocks, or steals in a single game. He is the first person to reach this milestone since Michael Jordan during the 1989 season. The longest triple-double streak belongs to Wilt Chamberlain, who had nine in a row in 1968.
Westbrook is on track to break several other records in the category. As of 21 games into the season, Westbrook is averaging a triple-double with 31.0 points, 10.8 rebounds and 11.3 assists, according to ESPN. The NBA has only seen one person average a triple-double throughout the entire season: Oscar Robertson, who averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists in the 1961 season. Robertson also holds the record for most triple-doubles in a single season with 41 during the 1961-1962 season. With ten in the season’s first 21 games, Westbrook is on track to get 39 triple doubles, but there is still a lot of time left in the season for that number to change.
Westbrook is also shooting for the career triple-double record, which Robertson also holds at 181 over the span of his career. Westbrook currently sits at sixth on the list, two spots above LeBron James, with 47, according to CBSSports.com.
Westbrook commented on his success in an ESPN article. He says that his main goal is to make sure his team wins games.
“I just like to win, brother. Honestly,” Westbrook said. “That’s the most important part. Making sure everybody is good, making sure my guys are happy with their games, and make sure we win the game.”
He also expressed that he likes getting into each game with a clear head.
“I just play, honestly,” Westbrook said. “I don’t want to get into a conversation if I’m going to do it every night. I just want to go out and compete at a high level, like I’ve been doing since I’ve been in the NBA.” As long as Westbrook keeps this mindset, he has a decent chance of etching his name into the NBA’s record books. With the way he has been playing thus far, there is no reason to doubt his ability to finish with a triple double average this season.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 13th print edition.
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